These last weeks we have been addressing the topic 2 of the Open Networked Learning course, being the focus on open learning. I would like to reflect on two activities in which I have participated: the work in my PBL group and the OER Conference 2020. However, I will introduce first some general reflections related to the topic and my practice. Afterwards I address shortly the group work and the OER conference.
General reflections on openness in education
Following the introductory video of the topic, I posted some of my reflections in the padlet, which I also discussed with my PBL group. I have to say that my reflection was very much influenced by an OER project in which I am currently working at my university. In this project we are doing an international comparison about the digital infrastructures for OER in higher education and some aspects came up. For instance, the issue that most of the institutions in one of the countries retain the copyright of the digital educational resources, and therefore, it does not seem to be possible that lecturers could share those materials afterwards as OER. The second reflective question was inspired by a conversation with a colleague, in which was clear that some MOOC platforms are retaining copyright of the lecturers’ materials and even students’ data are not being shared with the lecturers. Then, the questions for these two cases was, how “open” are those OER? On the other hand, if MOOCs are mostly used by higher education students, how do they expand access to education -which one could consider a part of openness? (Rohs & Ganz, 2015)
Looking at my practice, and as mentioned in the blogpost before, I think I could define my openness as in-progress, trying to get a balance between openness and privacy. I am an advocate for openness but I think that, in practice, this is sometimes difficult to combine with institutional policies. At least I always try to use Creative Commons licensed resources
in my classes and share what I can with others with the same kind of license. I also encourage students to do so, although I think here we find similar problems concerning the institutional policies and students’ data protection, which was and is in Germany especially strong.
On the other hand, I have been / am learner in different MOOCs and I have experienced diverse types of MOOCs with rather different concepts of what “openness” is, especially in terms of pedagogical foundations (Rodríguez, 2013). From these considerations, the ONL is more a cMOOC rather than an xMOOC, and this is especially pronounced in the pedagogical methods used, which are not based on content delivery but rather on discussion and collaboration in group problem-based learning settings. The value is within discussions and connections (Siemens, 2018).
Concerning where to find OER, I can highly recommend the webpages that I have been curating for the last years for my courses here:
The work in the PBL group
As an example of sharing and openness, we have worked on a video in which we addressed issues regarding open rights in education. We made sure that pictures and music have Creative Commons licenses and the same video was published with the same open license. We also aimed at more accessibility, which we considered as well as part of openness, by including subtitles to the video. The product was an interesting way of experimenting with a video interview format and making us discuss about the topic of these weeks.
The OER Conference 2020
Although I had very much looked forward to being in London for the OER Conference 2020 this year (my first edition of the conference), the conference moved online and took place during between 1-2 April. It was a wonderful opportunity to experience openness in terms of scientific event as a participant, and this is why I included this reflection here as part of the topic 2. Apart from offering a presentation in an open Webinar and an interactive activity in an online pinboard, I also prepared a pre-recording with other colleagues done with Zoom, and navigated through the various virtual spaces that the conference organisers prepared. These open spaces included a main hashtag on Twitter, different hashtags for other purposes, including a Twitter chat, a social splot for “meeting” participants, open sessions on Blackboard Collaborate and pre-recorded sessions, among others. Many advantages were clear from the use of these open technologies: everyone could participate in different ways and choose among them, allowed for diverse digital possibilities and conditions (digital accessibility). The disadvantage was made clear the second day of the conference with some troll disrupting a webinar session and leading to the closure of the chat for discussion and conversation with the presenters. Being open means also that anyone can join, for the good and the bad…
Rodriguez, O. (2013). The concept of openness behind c and x-MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). Open Praxis, 5(1), 67-73. International Council for Open and Distance Education. Retrieved April 6, 2020 from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/130655/.
Rohs, M., & Ganz, M. (2015). MOOCs and the claim of education for all: A disillusion by empirical data. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning